Green investment for Singapore
Singapore has been welcoming an influx of non-governmental environmental organisations wishing to set up shop in the island city state. Various factors have been cited for this benign invasion, including the availability of office space, the key amenities to hand and the fact that funding is being offered.
Amongst the outfits being attracted to the Singapore market are the global conservation partnership BirdLife Inernational and Fauna & Flora International. In taking advantage of Singapore's green welcome mat, these groups are joining the prestigious list of organisations already enjoying Singaporean patronage, such as Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Although all of these groups still face a daunting array of challenges, not least in persuading Singaporeans of the importance of environmental issues, what these organisations can certainly count upon is government support. Back in 2007 the Singapore government instigated a formal program aimed at enticing global environmental organisations to invest in the area. The International Organisations Programme Office
was set up at the Economic Development Board
, primarily to keep non-government organisations informed about the generous opportunities available in Singapore.
The Board's assistant managing director, Quek Swee Kuan, pointed out that, until fairly recently, Singapore had not regularly shown up on the radar for environmental bodies seeking to expand their global platform. There were several reasons for this, not least the fact that the bulk of their beneficiaries were situated in other locations. The World Wide Fund for Nature
was the only notable exception to this trend. However, since the government became far more proactive in explaining the benefits of the Singapore market, this situation had altered radically.
A combination of government grants and tax incentives had sent out messages that, environmentally speaking, Singapore is very much open for business and investment. The World Wide Fund received help in becoming registered as a charity.
Tanglin International Centre opened as a dedicated environment for non-profit outfits operating in Singapore, with both the World Wide Fund
and Wildlife Conservation Society
enjoying the excellent facilities available. The Economic Development Board
has set itself a target of attracting 150 such organisations to Singapore by 2015. There will be obvious benefits to Singapore money; not least in the creation of a potential 2500-3000 new jobs.